Supernova powder can be identified in the Antarctic snow

A supernova (from Latin Nova, "new") is a stellar explosion that can manifest itself in a very remarkable way, even with the naked eye. Supernovae produce very intense flashes of light that can last from several weeks to several months. The supernova explosion causes the expulsion of the outer layers of the star through powerful shock waves, enriching the surrounding space with heavy elements.

Now in the snow of Antarctica remains of these explosions have been identified. The amount of cosmic dust that reaches Earth every year ranges from several thousand to ten thousand tons.


The supernova remains found in Antarctica are shaped like iron atoms-60, an isotope without natural terrestrial sources.

To identify them, 500 kg of snow was collected at Kohnen station, a container settlement in Antarctica, and transported it to Munich for analysis by a research team at TUM (Technological University of Munich.

But When did these remains arrive? The snow cover that was analyzed was not more than 20 years old. In addition, the iron isotope that was discovered did not seem to come from particularly distant stellar explosions, since iron dust 60 would have dissipated too much throughout the universe if this had been the case.

Dominik Koll The Nuclear, Particle and Astrophysics research area at TUM argues that these remains have come here because we are going through an accumulation of gas clouds in which our solar system is currently located:

Our solar system entered into one of these clouds approximately 40,000 years ago and will come out in a few thousand years. If the gas cloud hypothesis is correct, then the ice core material over 40,000 years old would not contain interstellar iron. This would allow us to verify the transition from the solar system to the gas cloud; That would be an innovative discovery for researchers working in the solar system environment.

Video: NASA. Uncovering Winter's Mystery (February 2020).